VFMA Covid19 Risk Management Processes

Food markets are classed as essential food retail and we're working hard to make sure that our accredited Victorian farmers' markets can continue to trade, and that people can continue to buy food from farmers.  As the situation changes, we continue to review and adapt our risk management guidelines and share them with our members and State Government.  A summary of these guidelines may be seen, below. A copy of our risk management guidelines may be requested via email.

Minister for Agriculture, Jaclyn Symes stated on ABC's Country Hour that she would "like to see farmers' markets remain open. Supermarkets are open and ... the same thing should apply to farmers' markets. I attend my monthly farmers' market. [...] A lot of them are moving to online platforms or facilitating pick-ups, and I would hope that that really supports those hardworking producers."

Accredited Victorian farmers' markets are more than simply places to exchange goods for money, and we are committed to seeing them continue, embrace these challenges, and recover post-Covid19.

Markets within the next week

Accredited MarketsOnNear Me
Castlemaine Farmers' Market11/25/2020Castlemaine60353766-4229-41e1-b842-30ebc61c3194
Bendigo Community Farmers' Market11/26/2020Bendigo64c38728-a609-432a-8734-361c7ffd105e
Abbotsford Farmers Market11/28/2020Abbotsford0e237af1-be45-4d18-b543-320a1913ceac
Lancefield and District Farmers' Market11/28/2020Romseyaa053177-8d02-4140-85bc-07dc4bd023db
Coburg Farmers' Market11/28/2020COBURG4fd45e43-4b57-49a1-b2d8-e7fd61c2a9b4
Bentleigh Farmers' Market11/28/2020Bentleigh East91d6285c-a1ce-40d1-978d-7e8c9c2c5bbd
Myrtleford Farmers Market11/28/2020Myrtlefordfb3b9650-f975-49ec-aa03-172119ede69d
Alphington Farmers' Market11/29/2020Alphingtone9bb386f-40fb-44ef-81cb-d7921ed7f99d
Flemington Farmers' Market11/29/2020Flemington4e2038d7-43dd-426b-b1cb-2eebe0f7904a
Eltham Farmers' Market11/29/2020Elthamf7339a48-e0d5-42a0-a73a-111f2aaf9809
Castlemaine Farmers' Market12/2/2020Castlemaine60353766-4229-41e1-b842-30ebc61c3194

Summary: VFMA Risk Management Guide for accredited Victorian farmers’ markets 

Referenced government directives, reviewed 11/11/20

  • Victoria’s Restriction Levels
  • Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria)
  • Workplace Directions (No 9)
  • Stay Safe Directions (Victoria)
  • Revocation of Metro-Regional Work Travel Permit Scheme Directions

Markets and Stalls: Current Restrictions

Restricted Activity Directions for (Melbourne) and (Non-Melbourne)

  •  Permitted operations — open retail facilities, markets and retail shopping centres
  • A person who owns, controls or operates an open retail facility, except in accordance with subclause (3), market, market stall or retail shopping centre in the Restricted Area must comply with:
    • the density quotient for each indoor space; and
    • the signage requirement for each indoor space; and
    • the records requirement, except where not practicable to do so; and
    • the cleaning requirement.
  • market means a public market, whether indoor or outdoor, including a food market;
  • market stall means a stall within a market.


  •  An employer is not required to comply with the record keeping requirement […] where they are operating a Work Premises which is a market [or] market stall […] with respect to customers who attend that Work Premises, where it is not practicable to do so.


  • There is no provision for outdoor seating at markets in the current Restricted Activity Direction, either for Melbourne or for Non-Melbourne. 
  • There are specific directions for seating provision as part of an outdoor food and drink retail facility.  
  • Markets or stalls wishing to provide seating must read and follow the specific directions for seating provision as part of an outdoor food and drink retail facility; they are not provided here.

Stay Safe Directions (Victoria)

  • A person should take reasonable steps to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from all other persons (except those people with whom they ordinarily reside) when leaving their premises.
  • Two or more groups of 10 cannot meet for a common purpose at a public place.  In addition, a group in a public place must take reasonable steps to maintain a safe distance from any other groups in that public place. 
    • [This subclause] prevents people from attending a public place intending to gather with other people for a common purpose (for example, meeting family or friends at the shopping centre).

Anyone feeling unwell must not attend farmers’ markets

Market organisers, stallholders and shoppers should familiarise themselves with the latest food safety and coronavirus management guidelines before attending markets.

Guidelines for Farmers’ Market Organisers

Controlling patronage numbers and stall density

1. Market organisers must be able to count & control the number of patrons on site at any time to ensure they are meeting the density quotient requirements.

Ensuring physical distancing

2. Market managers should provide clear signage, ground markings and announcements to enforce physical distancing of 1.5 metres

3. Market managers should eliminate gathering points to limit density and exposure times.

4. Market managers should remind stallholders that socialising among workers has been responsible for the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) such as carpooling, huddling together or when smoking

Reducing transmission risks

5. Market managers should ensure they are compliant with current cleaning requirements

6. Market managers should ensure accessible hand washing and/or sanitising facilities are provided around the market to stallholders and shoppers

7. Market managers should ensure stallholders and shoppers are aware of face covering requirements

8. Where possible, market managers should not allow shoppers to enter the market before the opening time

9. Remove (or prevent access to) any self-service or communal condiment or drink stations

10. Encourage shoppers and stallholders to download the COVIDSafe app to assist with contract tracing

Guidelines for Farmers’ Market Stallholders

Ensuring physical distancing

11. Stallholders should arrive with enough time to set up the stall with consideration for physical distancing layout

12. Stallholders should remind their customers about physical distancing and encourage them to remain at least 1.5 metres apart when moving through the stall 

13. Stalls with multiple staff members should also maintain physical distancing

14. Stallholders should clearly label produce and prices for shoppers to be able to see to minimise crowding around the stall

Reducing transmission risks

15. Stallholders should have hand sanitiser or adequate hand wash facilities clearly accessible

16. Where possible, stallholders should ensure they are set-up to take card payments

17. Where possible, stallholders should avoid handling cash 

18. Ready-to-eat stalls may only provide take-away food

19. Stallholders should advise customers that, to minimise transmission risks, they may not handle produce

20. Stallholders must wear face coverings (fitted face masks) unless they have a lawful excuse not to

Our Promise:

To support local farmers by inspiring and enabling Victorians to buy fresh, wholesome, locally grown produce from VFMA Accredited Farmers' Markets.

Accredited farmers' markets provide an opportunity for our farmers to sell direct and take full credit for their efforts. By shopping at authentic farmers' markets customers are guaranteed access to quality, freshly harvested produce whilst supporting local farmers and directly putting money back into regional Victorian communities. Accreditation »

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